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Proper campout menus need re-enforcement

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In another thread, scoutldr said .... "My nephew .... joined a rather large troop last fall. Two weeks later, they went camping and the weather turned cold. He was totally untrained and ill-equipped. On top of that, the scouts were told that for food, it was "every man for himself", so he took lots of Doritos, ramen noodles and pop tarts."


IMO, This is exactly why patrol cooking is best. I've never liked the "bring your own food" concept because the boys bring chips and twinkies and not much else. If it has to be done, why doesn't someone screen the food? Why don't parents check the food too?






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A troop that tells a brand new scout that it is "every man for himself" and that takes a brand new scout winter camping without proper preparation has, IMO, a plethora of problems and patrol cooking (ideal though it is) isn't likely to fix them.





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I agree, but I think scoutldr also said in his original post that his nephew joined the troop a year ago. So, after a year, he should have had some idea of what to bring, but then to bring junk food ain't right. Mom, dad and / or uncle should have given some better guidance too. Maybe SPL or ASM should have inspected the food.




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Back when I was in Boy Scouting, I knew that I had a problem!!

I really did try and do what I could to put the Patrols first and the Troop second.

We did most things by the book.

We had Patrol Camp-outs, Patrol hikes. Regular Patrol meetings and a monthly PLC meeting. But much as I knew it was wrong, this bonehead would push for Troop activities over Patrol activities.

Maybe because it was less work? Maybe it was because I was thinking that we would do more good if we had more Scouts doing "Stuff" at the same time?

I had never heard of this "Bring your own grub" idea until a friend of Her Who Must Be Obeyed who has two Boys in a Troop in our District made mention of it.

As with a lot of new ideas. I wasn't sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing?

A little time later, I bumped into the SM from this Troop and it came up (I wonder why?).

This guy thought this was one of his better ideas. His big thing was that it was a lot less work. Scouts brought what they wanted to eat, no fussing with menu planning and fighting about likes and dislikes. Everyone cooked, again no duties and no fighting about clean up -The Scouts cooked in their mess kits. His list of why this was such a good thing seemed never ending.

I went away feeling a little confused.

A lot of what he had said made sense. It might have been wrong and I knew I didn't like the idea, but I wasn't altogether sure why?

If the goal was just feeding these Scouts? I can see that this was being met.

But surely we have bigger goals?

Surely when Scouts meet to plan and work out a menu isn't it about more than just about food? Don't Scouts learn a lot about team work? Making compromises and team work, from something as simple as planning half a dozen or so meals for a weekend?

My list of why I thought it was a bad idea seemed to grow longer and longer.

By chance? I happened to bump into the SM again, in a nice way I said that I'd thought about the way they fed the Scouts and went over some of my reasons why I thought it wasn't a good idea.

He informed me that he was under pressure from the parents to do it this way!!

I didn't say anything!! But I did think it would be a cold day when I'd allow parents to dictate to me about how the Troop would be run.

I can't imagine a soccer coach allowing the parents to pick what positions the players would fill? Nine center forwards and two goalkeepers?

I can't help thinking that we have allowed the parents of the Scouts to become too powerful over something that they don't really understand and worse still have some knowledge of?


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Perhaps the "rocking chair" patrol should have Doritos and twinkies (or whatever) and no real food. When I camp and plan for adults, I make it real good, meat, veggies, sometimes dessert, oh well, just my 2 cents worth.



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Not sure what part of Georgia your in, but last summer the staff at Blue Heron fixed a very nice low country broil.

We had spent five days on the water. Evening meals were great but at times what we had for lunch was new to me.


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Cooking, ahh, such a heart warming subject...


In our troop, We have only done a real "all meals troop kitchen" once in 12 years...other than that, all troop activities are based on patrols...each patrol plans its meals...makes a shopping list, appoints a grub master as part of the activity duty roster, collects grub money and does its own shopping...Troop stays out of it.


However, SPL (sometimes with gentle guidance from the SM) looks over each menu during the planning stage (Last meeting night prior to the event). This is to be sure it's not all sugar and chips...He also keeps a weather eye out for operational difficulties, such as boys planning a super involved meal when there is a time crunch (like district camporees 3x a year) Don't want the guys half finished their "blue trout" or stuffed peppers or D.O. Roast Lamb or waiting for the bread to bake - when they have to be at the District Closing Campfire, do we?!


On some events when time is critical, a bowl of instant oat meal and a donut for breakfast, or a cold cut sandwich and chips at lunch is perfectly fine -if the order of the day is to rush off to the "races".


On our longer hiking trips, we break the patrols down into groups of two or three scouts (buddy system), who plan their own meals to be prepared on the backpacking stoves they are issued for the hike. This makes large meals (large pots)difficult, so smaller scale cooking makes sense and trust me there are a lot of noodles going "down the hatch" on these events...and sausages and hard cheese and crackers...but we have never lost a scout to starvation or scurvy...Common sense (which, often times, is not so common in young men) is backed up by a trained senior scout staff! (with a little help from their adult friends)...doesn't happen own its own or by accident...takes planning and training.


But in cooking one thing works time and time again...If the adults (and the more senior scout patrols) cook great meals the younger boys will want to eat well too! Very few, (my oldest son being the exception) would rather eat hot dogs -meal after meal, after meal! Especially, when the guys "next door" are pulling barbeque ribs out of a dutch oven and the adults have a couple of chickens hanging over the fire pit wafting wonderful smelling aromas across the camp...and samples are "costly" in terms of that time honored scouting system of "mooching"...Our boys do learn to cook...

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Our troop or should I say patrols are pretty much in line with what anarchist describes in his unit. Because of some corner cutting by a few of the patrols in the recent past, we have a variety of adults willing to check the patrol menu prior to their shopping. We do expect them to follow the handbook guidelines for nutritious meal planning.


We only do one troopwide cooking campout. It is when we go to a big rendezvous in Kansas in January that has about 4,000 in attendance. It is a "fun" campout with lots of program and trading. The patrols still help with prep, cooking and KP, but there is one menu for adults and boys alike. We do it this way to maximize the time the boys get to spend at the activities.

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We usually only troop cook for camporees. We usually have a lot of people including one or two Webelos dens and often some of the staff (our DE started in our troop and she loves our cooking). We have fed up to 60 and could probably feed twice as many.


For patrol cooking, we use a menu planning form:



The SPL approves all patrol menus. The newer patrols have a troop guide to help them. They usually start off with simpler menus and work up. We have had thanksgiving campouts where each patrol prepares an entree for a troop meal. We also sometimes have cooking contests.


The PLC has banned pop-tarts and the like, and recently decided to take a stance to limit poagie bait.


Adults generally camp and cook as a patrol. All patrols are separated as far practical. Depending on participation, the Greenbars may cook as a patrol or may cook with the Scoutmasters.



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The spelling I know is pogey bait. I learned this term from my dad who was a WWII Marine. Pogey bait is basically junk food and candy. I never thought to ask him what a "pogey" was. Since I understood what pogey bait was, it didn't seem important to me to know why it was called that. I have to admit, I'm a pogey.




While I don't disagree with allowing pop-tarts, boys will often take a mile when given an inch. The use of pop-tarts should not necessarily be banned, but used as a teaching tool. I once served a troop that had had a problem with raman noodles. The boys came to rely on them for every campout because they were fast and easy. They cooked nothing else. Just boiled water. Then they got so lazy that they decided to skip boiling water and eat the raman noodles dry. Items like pop-tarts often will lead boys down that road unless checked. We do allow the boys to do powdered donuts and such for Sunday breakfast to facilitate earlier breakdown of camp. But doing baggie omlettes is quick and has no clean up involved. Which do you think is more nutritious? Getting jacked up on sweets or eggs with possibly cheese, onion, peppers, salsa and tortillas.

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